Discover the 8 gastronomic cities of Extremadura
Extremadura is the land os small towns of a thousand flavours and of creative home cooking with “slow food” tradition (before the term was invented) deriving from local high-quality seasonal products.
In these hospitable and integrating towns taking things easy allows you to immerse yourself in gastronomy with a present, a future and an eloquent past. Savouring the honesty and friendliness of the locals adds extra value to the cities in which the gastronomic experience constitutes tasting value of the region.
The influences found here combine tradition, culture, and the native products; their recipes constitute a testimony of the commitment to the land together with the mark of other cuisines, in particular Portuguese.
The gastronomy of Extremadura involves immersing yourself in a vast landscape from which emerge products that are so genuine and fine that they have taking this region cooking to be one of the best in the entire Spain.
In Extremadura many recipes of similar origin are adapted in each district to provide different dishes but with common characteristics; sampling them is the best way to get to know the local culture and the feelings of the people that live here. You will end up experiencing original tastes and sensations outside your daily routine, mixed with flavours, in an exciting and pleasurable cultural exchange.
The cooking of Extremadura is the result of the coexistence of the ancient Roman, Visgothic, Arab and Sephardic legacy combined with the mark left by shepherds of the north in their transhumance and the cross-border stamp of the proximity to Portugal.
Emperor Charles V transformed gastronomic perceptions in Yuste during his retreat to the monastery when he brought with him asparagus, live oysters, salted anchovies, selfish of all kind preserved in snow … and even his own brewer.
Francisco Martinez Montillo, the head chef of Kings Philip II, III and IV, mentions in his book ” The art of cooking, confectionery, and preserving” of 1611 the excellence of the truffles of Extremadura (criadillas de tierra) and gives details about the cooking process of the “Chartusian omelette”, which is none other then the popular plain omelette from the recipe collections of the Hieronymite monks of the Monastery of Guadalupe.
The first Spanish potato omelette – According to the book ” The potato in Spain – History and Agroecology of the Andean Tuber” , written by the scientist from the Scientific Research Council, Javier Lopez Linaje, the spanish omelette was invented in Extremadura town of Villanueva de la Serena on 27th February 1798. Its creation is attributed to Joseph de Tena Godoy and the Marquis of Robledo.
Discover the 8 gastronomic cities of Extremadura
Let’s further discover the 8 gastronomic cities of Extremadura, each one of them has its own special features but all show their willingness to share, because good food is a way of life. In these eight marvels there is a perfect combination of heritage, culture, and cuisine all helping you to know better the gastronomic identity of the region.
This excellent destination is a mirror for three cultures in the kitchen (Arab, Jewish, and Christian) where the visitors can combine with elegant naturalness culinary experiences such as sampling tapas of potato sausage with honey, creme caramel made from the Torta del Casar, or pastries made with almonds and honey while contemplating a 14th-century art piece or dancing rhythms in the Plaza Mayor during the Womad Festival.
Events of Interest : Convent Pastries Fair; Tapa Festival; Extregusta; Torta del Casar Week; Colours of the Wine Harvest.
The capital of mountain, Sephardic and Christian cooking offered in its traditional market of flavours and countless restaurants, bars, and taverns sheltered by its mighty city walls and its two cathedrals. At the Municipal Cooking School, you get to taste its zorrongollo ( a salad of peppers), trout from the Jerte river, soft cheese with honey, and products made from cherries among other culinary delicacies.
The Jerte Valley is the valley of the cherries with the picota as the king of varieties and produces from gazapcho to liqueurs. Each year in the spring the valley dresses in white to receive the 200,000 visitors who come to enjoy the festival of the Cherry Tree in Blossom. La Cerecera between May and August and the Otonada in autumn are the two other great occasions for coming to the valley.
Events of Interest : Martes Mayor; Festival of the Cherry Tree in Blossom; La Cerecera; Autumn in the Jerte Valley.
Here you can loose yourself in the streets that Pizarro and Orellana ran through as children and discover medieval walls, cisterns, and palaces, savouring convent sweetmeats and honey. When you go up to the castle, there is silence … the land speaks of cheese with denomination of origin. The town also offers moraga (girlled meat) and fantastic breadcrumbs dishes.
The Trujillo-Miajadas plains are traditionally cattle rearing and it is there that a large portion of the heifers and lambs of Extremadura are reared; towards south this district suddenly gives way to the irrigated area of the Vegas del Guadiana rice, fruit trees, maize and above all tomatoes.
The cheeses of Extremadura break hearts wherever they go. The cheeses from the region whether the Torta del Cesar, or the cheeses from Los Iberos or La Serena have won prestigious awards worldwide.
Events of Interest : Trujillo International Cheese Fair.
In this town don’t miss the pastries of the Franciscan nuns from the Convento de la Madre de Dios and the popular mantelinos commemorating the Sacred Tablecloth (mantel) of the Last Supper which is kept in the Cathedral Museum. Also while there ask for mushrooms and fighting bull stew, shoulder of lamb and quico.
This modern city with a traditional flavour is included in the prestigious Savour Spain (Saboreea Espana) group. You will eat tapa after tapa and sample any food that is Iberian and a fine selection of rice and cod dishes. In the world capital of dehesa you can have energising breakfasts on the banks of the Guadiana River featuring a wide variety of toasts.
In the Ribera del Guadiana there up to thirty grape varieties, of which the most important and best known are the Spanish tempranillo and macabeo grapes and the local Extremadura cayetana and pardina grapes, both of which are white.
Events of Interest : Spring Wine and Gastronomy
Here you can savour Roman tapas fused with mulsum (Roman wine) , art, culture, sport, and music get to know the Via de la Plata route in the Latin American Capital of Iberian ham and pork specialities such as grilled presa, pluma, or secreto, vegetables, and spices. Follow the gastronomic route of cold dishes : gazpacho, ajoblanco (garlic and almond soup), cojondongos and zarangollos.
Olivenza and Tierras de Alqueva, and its adjacent area in Portugal; share dishes and recipes such as Tecula Mecula, sweet as marzipan.
Explore Zafra’s porticoed Plaza Grande and Plaza Chica, that will stir up your senses with chanfaina stew, lamd revoltillo, rabbit nad hare with rice, and stewed or pickled partridge or quail. Discover delicious hideaways for sweetmeats such as repapalos with milk, tocinillos de cielo ( a pudding of egg yolk and syrup), quince jelly, bishop’s hearts, and the buns known as bollos de chicharrones.